Tom Friedman puts himself wherever the rubber meets the road. No ivory-tower type or bland theorist. He has earned every man's ear.
This is one of his very best, IMO. Excerpted here, but his entire essay is worth your time:
The next American president will inherit many foreign policy challenges, but surely one of the biggest will be the Cold War. Yes, the next U.S. president is going to be a Cold War president - but this Cold War is with Iran.
That is the real umbrella story in the Middle East today - the struggle for influence across the region, with America and its Sunni Arab allies (and Israel) versus Iran, Syria and their nonstate allies, Hamas and Hezbollah. As the May 11 editorial in the Iranian daily Kayhan put it, "In the power struggle in the Middle East, there are only two sides: Iran and the U.S."
For now, Team America is losing on just about every front. How come? The short answer is that Iran is smart and ruthless, America is dumb and weak, and the Sunni Arab world is feckless and divided. Any other questions?